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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Modi claims victory as BJP-led alliance secures majority

The Indian PM’s Bharatiya Janata Party may have missed out a landslide win despite predictions, but its coalition looks set to retain power

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has declared victory in the parliamentary election for his party’s alliance; votes cast by over 640 million Indians were counted on Tuesday.

The Lok Sabha, India’s lower house of parliament, has a total of 545 seats; a party or coalition needs 272 to form a government.

Read more: India’s Modi takes jab at Pakistan as election heats up

While Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its National Democratic Alliance (NDA) partners won fewer seats than expected, together they have over 290 seats. In 2019, Modi’s party secured 303 seats alone and the NDA crossed the 350-seat threshold. This year, however, the coalition fell far short of the 400-seat target it had set for itself.

The ruling party faced a stronger challenge from the opposition INDIA bloc, which includes dozens of parties, which could together win over 230 seats, as some constituencies have yet to declare a winner. The Indian National Congress party, which leads the bloc, is expecting to win 100 seats, up from the 52 it won in 2019.

Addressing his party workers in Delhi on Tuesday night, Modi declared that the NDA’s election win was a “victory of the people.” He noted that before him, only the country’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, had managed to achieve a third term in office, in 1962.

He also vowed to push forward his development agenda and advance India’s defense production, providing jobs for young people, increasing the volume of exports and helping farmers, among other things. “This country will see a new chapter of big decisions. This is Modi’s guarantee,” he said, repeating the BJP’s election tagline.

Read more: Modi can see India through global turbulence – foreign minister

Both rival blocs have announced that they will meet on Wednesday, as they will attempt to form the federal government. According to experts, talks are underway between national and regional parties, and there is a chance that the current alliances could change.

Meanwhile, both Modi and his key rival, Rahul Gandhi of the Indian National Congress party, secured comfortable victories in their respective parliamentary constituencies.  While Modi retained his seat in Varanasi, an ancient city in Uttar Pradesh state considered holy by the Hindu community, the Gandhi family scion won in Rae Bareli, which was previously represented by his mother Sonia.

“The result is a victory for democracy”, Indian National Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge said amid the counting at a press conference, noting that the public has not given a “complete majority” to any party. Kharge hailed the turn of events as a “political defeat” for Modi, who is seeking a third consecutive term.

Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi, who also addressed the media after securing his seat in parliament, claimed that the country has “unanimously and clearly stated” that “[they] do not want [Narendra Modi] and [Home Minister] Amit Shah to be involved in the running of the country.”